When I was young, I knew what the truth was. I had really good instincts. But somewhere (early) along the way, I stopped trusting them.
Because grown-ups kept telling me that what I knew to be true wasn’t true. Or that my feelings were wrong or bad and really needed to be different. And, because I assumed grown-ups knew more than I did, I let them be right.
Here’s an example of what I mean: when I was young, my parents had a VERY strained relationship. They slept in separate rooms. Arguments and/or stony silence were the norm. And yet, to the outside world, we presented an over-the-top normalcy. I learned early to lie about even the smallest of things so that that the “happy family” picture could be maintained.
But I KNEW it wasn’t true. To my very core, I knew that families did not act the way ours did behind closed doors. When I was at my friends’ houses, the energy was just so very different. I never really wanted to invite friends to my house because I knew I would have to answer impossible questions.
In order to stay sane (and my sanity was quite short-lived but that’s another story), I stopped trusting myself. I let myself get into all kinds of bad situations because I cut off access to that part of me that could sense danger or even mild discomfort. And this disconnectedness lasted until I was at least 30 years old.
Fast forward to now. I am watching my seven-year-old son (who is an empath like me) struggle to make sense of a world that tells him that what he knows and what he feels are simply not accurate. He “shouldn’t” feel angry when a younger child snatches his favorite toy. He “shouldn’t” get impatient when he can finish his worksheets faster than anyone else. He “shouldn’t” try to explain when he’s been falsely accused of misbehaving.
And he isn’t the only one.
I watch children. A lot. And what I see is SO alarming. Either all of their feelings and whims are over- indulged (which does not lead to learning accuracy) or their feelings and whims are shut down without any attempt to understand them. Only the most tenacious children (read The Young Turk) have to energy to persist and insist that they have a right to express whatever is going on. Most of them realize it is just easier to shut down that side of themselves and maintain the status quo.
Is it any wonder we now have SO much difficulty being real? Or even knowing what our “real” is? Where do we learn how to do that? Who shows us the way? Who gets rewarded – those who maintain the status quo or those who stand up and say “THIS is who I am. THIS is what I know is true. THIS is what I am no longer willing to settle for.”
(And I know it’s easy to say that those who stand up get rewarded, but let me tell you – they also get endless missiles, potshots and shit thrown at them too – and that is hard to take.)
If we can’t teach our children to trust their instincts and what they know to be true, how on earth are they, or even we for that matter, every going to learn how to escape mediocrity. Or better yet, not settle for it in the first place.
As always, I am intensely interested in what you have to say.